Monday, January 08, 2007

Turkey Stuffed Peppers with Pine Nuts and Basil

Last week yellow and orange bell peppers were on sale at Jewel so I snapped up a couple and brought them home with me. I chopped the first two and used them instead of tomatoes in my Marinated Vegetable and Whole Wheat Pasta Salad, which made for some lovely lunches.

I was a little at a loss as to what I should do with the other two peppers. I had recently roasted some and made a sauce so I wasn't in the mood to do that again. I could cut them up and bring them to work for a snack :yawn: So I did nothing, and they sat in my vegetable bin for a couple of days.

But I didn't forget them. I just let them sit there, trusting that I would eventually think of something to do with them.

So I stuffed them with ground turkey, couscous, and some broccoli florets I had also cooked up last week that needed to be used soon. Pine nuts, fresh basil and lemon juice gave it a lovely Mediterranean flavor that made for a light and fresh meal.

These were originally going to have a Middle Eastern flavor. I had my mind set on lamb, with mint, cinnamon and pistachios. But they were out of lamb at the Apple Market. What was I to do? I needed to stuff those peppers!

I waltzed back and forth in front of the meat counter trying to decide what to do. I really didn't want to use beef or pork. I really didn't want to use anything else. Although they did give me some funny looks, the guys behind the counter were pretty patient while they watched me go back and forth from the pork to the poultry while I tried to decide what to do.

It took a complete change in direction, but I finally settled on ground turkey. I probably could have kept with the Middle Eastern flavors, but my heart wasn't in it without the lamb. So I put back the mint and the pistachios and grabbed some fresh basil and pine nuts instead. And it worked out just fine.

When I cooked the turkey, I took care not to break it down too much. I wanted everything to be on the chunky side so there was some substance. I liked the way it worked out.
However, while not dry, they were a little crumbly because I didn't add anything to bind the mixture. Parmesan cheese would really add to the flavor, and would help bind it as well. That's what I will do next time.

After I make my lamb-stuffed peppers, that is.

Home Cookin Chapter: Poultry

Turkey Stuffed Peppers with Pine Nuts and Basil

Serves 4

4 bell peppers, red, yellow or orange (or a combination)
1 cup whole wheat couscous, prepared according to package directions
2 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chopped broccoli
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, chopped, with 1 Tbsp reserved for garnish
4 Tbsp fresh chopped basil, plus 1 Tbsp for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the peppers and take out the seeds. If necessary, trim the bottoms so the peppers will stay upright in an 8 x 8" baking dish. Stand the peppers in the dish and pour about 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the dish. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.

While peppers are baking, heat oil in large skillet. Add onions and garlic and cook five minutes. Add ground turkey and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until turkey is just cooked through. Add tomato sauce and broccoli and heat through. Add lemon juice and remove from heat. Add the basil, cheese and and pine nuts.

Divide mixture evenly between the four semi-cooked peppers and stuff them. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Garnish with remaining basil and pine nuts before serving.

Exported from Home Cookin 5.4 (

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